• Long-eared Owls

Northern Serbia Winter

Long-eared Owl Tour

30 November to 5 December 2024

Led by David Lindo In association with Bird’s Wildlife & Nature

  • Duration

    30 November 2024 to 5 December 2024

  • Location


  • Led by

    David Lindo – The Urban Birder with Milan Ružić

  • For assistance with booking flights

    call Sacha Barbato at Travel Counsellors
    +44 (0)1603 360 099

  • Please contact us if you have any other queries

    Email: tours@theurbanbirderworld.com

  • Price

    £1,695 plus flight

  • Single supplement


  • Deposit

    £500 per person

  • Group size

    6 participants in one minibus

  • Remaining balance due 60 days before travel start date

    Second Payment: 30/09/2024

“If you don’t see an owl on this trip David will eat his binoculars!”

Free loan of Leica binoculars is available for the duration of the tour – subject to availability.

Please ask for details.

About Serbia

Serbia has rapidly become one of the most talked about birding destinations in Eastern Europe. Why? Because, it is officially the best place in the world to see Long-eared Owls. Indeed, it is the best place on the entire planet to see Long-eared Owls in unimaginable numbers!

The great thing about this popular trip is that there is very little walking involved. Plus, we will never be too far away from a cup of coffee or thick hot chocolate because most of our birding will be urban based.

We guarantee that you will leave Serbia beaming!

Tour overview

We will see owls from the windows of our hotel and just about anywhere else in the picturesque small town of Kikinda where we will be based during this exciting short getaway. Our small boutique hotel is situated right in the heart of the owl action. The main square has been declared by the local government as a nature reserve and holds huge gatherings of Long-eared Owls – which can peak at over 800 individuals during some years. Over the ensuing days we will spend our time exploring some of the towns and surrounding areas looking for owls, Great Grey Shrikes, White-tailed Eagle as well as wintering flocks of Common Cranes and White-fronted Geese. There is also the possibility of finding the majestic though sadly endangered Saker Falcon or a wintering Eastern Imperial Eagle.

Expected birds

Pygmy Cormorant, Great Egret, White-fronted Goose, Ferruginous Duck, Smew, White-tailed Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Northern Goshawk, Peregrine, Merlin, Caspian Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Long-eared Owl, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, Syrian Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Marsh Tit, Penduline Tit, Bearded Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Great Grey Shrike, Common Raven and Hawfinch.


Saturday 30 November

Plan to arrive by the afternoon into Nikola Tesla International Airport (Airport code: BEG) Belgrade, Serbia after which you will be met and transferred to our hotel in the City Center.

Our tour will start with dinner this evening.

Overnight in Belgrade

Note: aim to arrive by the late afternoon at Belgrade airport. See flight information at the end of the itinerary for more details.

There is also an option to arrive a day earlier (Friday 29 November) in order to enjoy a cultural tour of Belgrade on the morning of Saturday 30 November. Please let us know if you are interested in this option.

Sunday 1 December

Today after breakfast we will depart Belgrade and make our way towards Kikinda – the Owl Capital of the World. Of course, there will be stops along the way and we may start with a quick look at the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers right in the centre of Belgrade. We can see both Great and Pygmy Cormorants, Caspian and Yellow-legged Gulls, Great Crested Grebe, Common Pochard and sometimes Smew while the surrounding trees can hold Western Jackdaw both Great, Syrian and the occasional Black Woodpeckers or maybe a group of Hawfinch. Moving on and literally just on the outskirts of the city we will pass by a small canal where we can get our first close up views of Pygmy Cormorants alongside numerous Grey Herons eagerly eyeing up their breakfasts.

A little further on we will arrive at a large fish pond that is surrounded by reeds. More Pygmy Cormorants will greet us joined by Great Cormorants allowing for good comparisons while among the gull flocks we will try and find some Caspian Gulls mixed in with the devilishly similar Yellow-legged Gulls. Tree Sparrows will be easily seen and while watching the lake we can search for ducks that may include Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Eurasian Teal, Common Shelduck and possibly something like Smew or Ferruginous Duck. As we keep looking up, we could see skeins of White-fronted and Greylag Geese and this is also a regular place to spot our first White-tailed Eagle. Among the reed-beds the ringing call of Bearded Reedlings may draw our attention and further searching could find us both Penduline Tit and Reed Bunting. After the excitement of this wonderful place, we will continue our journey to the small town of Kikinda and possibly our first Long-eared Owls in the few trees right outside the hotel.

Overnight in Kikinda

Monday 2 December

Today will be surely one of those days that everyone holds in anticipation!

We will start our morning in Kikinda Square right outside the hotel which conveniently has a coffee shop. The focus will be Long-eared Owls and it shouldn’t take us long to locate our first tree with roosting birds. The spectacle of the number of birds can be astounding. Up to 150 Long-eared Owls have been counted in one tree in the town centre and the total number of roosting owls in the town square in winter in a good year can be upwards of 800!

Even in a poor year there are still several hundred to be found. The birds can be anywhere and everywhere – in the churchyard, in the trees along the main street and in the trees around cafes. The spectacle is incredible and should offer excellent owl watching and photographic opportunities. Once we’ve seen the owls, we will also take in some of the cultural delights, architecture and cuisine that the town has to offer before visiting a few other sites in the vicinity for more Long-eared Owls, Little Owl, Syrian Woodpecker, Black Redstart and Hawfinch.

Tuesday 3 December

After breakfast, and of course a check on the owls outside hotel, we will spend some time in villages with yet more Long-eared Owls. We are sure to be distracted by flocks of Common Cranes and White-fronted Geese flying overhead and Black Restarts calling from the rooftops.

Our destination today is Kapetanski Rit Wetlands which is 80km NW of Kikinda. With 179 acres of designated wetland the area is rich source of biodiversity. Here we will look for more views of Pygmy Cormorant, White-tailed Eagle, Hen and Marsh Harrier, Great Egret, gulls, waders and both Bearded Reedling and Penduline Tit.

Towards the end of the afternoon, we will explore several landscapes for owl species including Long-eared, Short-eared, Little and Barn Owls while also looking in the old trees for Great and Syrian Woodpeckers, Brambling, Hawfinch and anything else that might appear. We will eventually return to Kikinda in time for dinner.

Overnight in Kikinda

Wednesday 4 December

Today we will spend the day at Carska Bara Nature Reserve, the largest individual bog in Serbia. The entire system consists of three ponds (Carska, Perleska and Tiganjica) connected by the 8 km (5.0 mi) long canal. This protected wetland consists of many smaller bodies of water, including rivers, canals, lakes and ponds, covered with reed beds, willow thickets and rushes and it is known for its colour diversity. Blue clear water, white and yellow Salt Marsh and brown and green woodlands. There are some 500 plant species registered in the reserve, including many rare or protected species. Around 24 species of fish live here along with amphibians and reptiles making it an ideal hunting ground for waterbirds and raptors. The reserve itself is best known for its abundant birdlife.

Some 50,000 Greater White-fronted Geese spend December-January each year in Carska Bara and careful searching may turn up rarities such as Lesser White-fronted Goose or the beautiful Red-breasted Goose. Among the assembled ducks should be Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Wigeon and maybe a Ferruginous Duck or Smew. White-tailed Eagles, Marsh and Hen Harriers, Merlin, Peregrine, Common Buzzard and Eurasian Sparrowhawk patrol the area and both Pygmy Cormorant and fields full of Common Cranes can be present. Surrounding bushes, scrub and fields can hold Brambling other finches, pipits, Reed Bunting, Great Grey Shrike and Fieldfare. So, there will be plenty to keep us busy. Later we will return to Belgrade after stopping in Novi Sad in time for our final dinner and to review our highlights.

Overnight in Belgrade

Thursday 5 December

Today, you will be transferred to Nikola Tesla International Airport (Airport code: BEG) Belgrade, in time for our international departing flights home.

You may book a flight to depart at any time today, but note our tour finishes with breakfast today.

Special trip notes

This trip is suitable for all ages and abilities.

A moderate amount of walking is involved with no uphill treks.

The weather can range from being mild to a bit chilly. It can also be wet so bring waterproof attire and walking boots.

If you need any outdoor apparel, you can enjoy a 15% discount from Páramo Directional Clothing whose fabulous products are all ethically manufactured. Please visit this link.

Note that Serbia is not an EU state and as such they still allow smoking in public places such as restaurants.

Recommended field guide

Collins Bird Guide – Lars Svensson, Killian Mullarney & Dan Zetterström


We suggest that you fly with Lufthansa via Munich from Heathrow departing at 06:35 eventually landing in Belgrade at 12:35.

The return flights are also via Munich departing Belgrade at 13:15.

Currently, there are no direct flights to Belgrade from the UK. However, BA may start to operate a direct flight that will work for the start date of our tour. We will update this itinerary if it becomes an actuality.

The flight times were correct at the time of publishing this itinerary.

Book now

  • Duration: 30 November 2024 to 5 December 2024
  • Price: £1,695 plus flight
  • Single supplement: £175
  • Deposit: £500 per person
  • Group size: 6 participants in one minibus
  • Remaining balance due 60 days before travel start date

    Second Payment: 30/09/2024

  • For assistance with booking flights

    call Sacha Barbato at Travel Counsellors
    +44 (0)1603 360 099

  • Please contact us if you have any other queries

    Email: tours@theurbanbirderworld.com

  • Passenger details

    Once you have booked your tour with us, please complete this form:
    Client Travel Form

Price includes

  • Full board accommodation
  • Meals
  • Transport in a comfortable minibus
  • The services of your guides David Lindo (The Urban Birder) and Milan Ružić
  • The optional loan of a pair of sexy Leica binoculars for the duration of the tour – subject to availability

Price does not include

  • Airline tickets and airport taxes
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Entry fees to museums (if desired)
  • Incidental refreshments at cafes and bars, plus all additional drinks

Click on the booking form above to reserve your place on this tour. You will be re-directed to the birdswildlife.com website.

“We have worked closely with David developing a bird watching tour to Serbia. His knowledge and creativity was second to none and of course, he escorts the tours with much enthusiasm and creativity which has gone down so well with guests on his tours. We look forward to working with the ‘Urban Birder’ in years to come as we continue to develop and expand on our birdwatching tours in Serbia”

Zorica JovanovHead of International Marketing National Tourism Organisation of Serbia

“I cannot begin to express how amazing the owls of Kikinda were. Our appetites were whetted by David’s talk but the reality exceeded all exceptions. We were blessed with sunshine that really showed their plumage to perfection and the sheer numbers were breathtaking. Watching their behaviour at dusk was mesmerising. There were of course many other birds and the knowledge shown by both (David and Milan) was impressive and well expressed. The outstanding fact for me was the evident keenness on conservation and education. Good luck in the future.”

Margot GriceDecember 2016

“An excellent short trip to Serbia and to Kikinda, the Owl Capital of the World. The Long-eared Owls more than lived up to expectations with amazing numbers roosting in the trees, and very confiding, as used to people! Really good photographic opportunities as well. Birds in northern Serbia also included huge numbers of Common Cranes and other waterbirds and daily views of Hen Harriers as well as Great Grey Shrike. The trip is thoroughly recommended.”

Jonathan MercerDecember 2022

“The Urban Birder’s Serbia holiday was a most enjoyable and enlightening experience.We saw a huge variety of birds in a wide range of habitats. As a novice birder, I appreciated the help and advice from the team guides which enabled me to fully benefit from the birding experience. It has enhanced my knowledge of the conservation of birds and their habitats and has whetted my appetite to do further birding activities. I would definitely recommend this holiday to others.”

Margaret BransonDecember 2023

“As a novice birder I would recommend this trip to anyone who has never observed birds in the urban setting before. I feel I know so much more about birds and the environment after this wonderful adventure.”

Carol BlandDecember 2023